The second in Delany’s series, a marked improvement over the first (Body on Baker Street, 2017), features better-developed...



A bookstore owner once more channels Sherlock Holmes to solve a murder.

Gemma Doyle, who owns the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium in a touristy Cape Cod town, learns from her best friend, Jayne Wilson, who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, that famed British actor Sir Nigel Bellingham will play Holmes in a local theatrical production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Although Gemma’s a Brit herself, she makes no claims to any Conan Doyle family relationship and is unimpressed by aging actors. Even so, she’s drawn into the hoopla and is happy to take advantage of the occasion to sell her goods. Jayne’s mother, Leslie, who once had an abbreviated acting career, is over the moon, but even she notices that Sir Nigel, who has a drinking problem, is not up to the task and that his understudy, Eddie Barker, is better suited to the role. As the rehearsals are about to begin, Gemma gets roped into helping Jayne cater and serve at a fundraiser, an afternoon tea for several hundred people who will pay for the privilege of meeting Sir Nigel and the cast. The affair takes place at the stunning estate of Rebecca Stanton, the director and producer of the theater festival. Although the food and setting are perfect, Sir Nigel is drunk and obnoxious. When Gemma and her friend Grant Thompson go looking for him, she’s not entirely surprised to find his body at the bottom of a cliff. Neither Detective Louise Estrada, who dislikes her, nor Officer Ryan Ashburton, who’s dated her, is thrilled to see Gemma, who’s had experience with murder before. True to form, Gemma’s removed a piece of evidence from the scene, fearing it will implicate Jayne’s mother, and now she feels obligated to solve the crime. With no dearth of suspects among the unhappy cast and crew, Gemma uses her sharp eye for even the smallest details before the police arrest the wrong person.

The second in Delany’s series, a marked improvement over the first (Body on Baker Street, 2017), features better-developed characters and a more congenial and cerebral sleuth.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68331-471-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.


Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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